National Day of Action against Muckaty Radioactive Waste Dump: 12th April!

On 12 April, the Senate will hold a public hearing in Darwin as part of its inquiry into the legislation that will lock-in Muckaty as the site for a national radioactive waste dump. There will be no hearing in Tennant Creek, effectively SILENCING many Traditional Owners, who will be unable to travel to Darwin.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT to the Muckaty Traditional Owners who have been opposing the plan to dump dangerous nuclear waste on their country since it was first proposed. Continue reading →

Nuclear waste likely to be dumped in NT

Australia’s first nuclear waste dump is likely to be sited in the Northern Territory.

Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has revealed Muckaty Station, about 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, as the location the Federal Government will pursue for a national radioactive waste repository.

“We will proceed firstly with the only voluntary site that we have, and that goes to the Ngapa land with respect to the Muckaty Station,” he told 105.7 ABC Darwin.

Mr Ferguson said several sites preferred by the Howard government would no longer be pursued.

“We have knocked out the three sites which were not volunteered by the community but were determined by politicians in Canberra,” he said.

This is “despite the fact that scientifically they actually stack up”.

Should environmental and scientific assessments fail at the Muckaty site, Mr Ferguson said the nuclear waste dump could be located elsewhere in Australia.

“I also have the capacity, if I assess that that is not a proper site, to then open up to a national voluntary site nomination process.”

Mr Ferguson said the Government would this week repeal Howard government legislation that would have enabled it to force the waste dump on the Northern Territory.

He said radioactive waste stored at the site would not be linked to Australia’s uranium exports, but to isotopes used in medical treatments.

He said the Muckaty site had been nominated by the Northern Land Council, however he acknowledged that some traditional owners were not in agreement.

“Clearly there are some differences in terms of the Muckaty Land Trust.”

He said before the site could be approved as a waste dump, the Northern Land Council would “have to prove that it’s been done in accordance with the law of the Northern Territory”.

He said a final decision on the dump site would still take a long time.

“If the science stacks up, and if it meets environmental approvals – but thirdly and more importantly, it obtains the necessary approval from the Ngapa people, through the Northern Land Council – then it will potentially be the appropriate site.”

Natalie Wasley from the Beyond Nuclear Initiative says the decision is extremely disappointing.

“There is an agreement that was made between the Northern Land Council, the Federal Government and some traditional owners of the land trust,” she said.

“This agreement has never been made public and there’s been a number of documents submitted by other traditional owners calling for the contract and the agreement to be made public so they can see what’s actually been agreed upon for their country.

“It’s a very contested nomination.”

A woman representing some traditional owners of the Muckaty Land Trust says she wants the Federal Resources Minister to visit her country before making decisions about a nuclear waste facility.

Dianne Stokes represents the area’s Miyilwayi traditional owners and says any past agreement with the Ngapa people is not valid.

“I want to get the traditional owners together, talk about it and maybe have a ceremony to show Martin Ferguson who we are, because he didn’t come when we asked him,” she said.

“We’ve written him a letter to come.

“He never came towards us, he never came and faced us, he never came and talked to us.

“None of the people, not even the NLC, came and talked to the traditional owners.”

Beyond Nuclear Initiative
08 8952 2011
0429 900 774

Student night blockade against uranium mining in Meghalaya, India

Shillong, Oct 14 – The influential Khasi Students Union (KSU) has announced a two-night road blockade in Meghalaya beginning Wednesday to protest a proposed uranium mining project in the state.

The road blockade would affect vehicular movement, specially night passenger buses and goods laden trucks, on the national highways between Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

The blockade will be on from 7 p.m. till 5 a.m. Wednesday, and then again for the same duration Thursday.

‘The KSU at a meeting Tuesday decided to intensify its stir… to protest the Meghalaya government’s decision to lease out land to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL),’ said KSU president Samuel B. Jyrwa.

‘The KSU believes the uranium project would harm the environment and health of people living adjoining areas,’ Jyrwa said.

The state government has tightened security across the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of southeastern Meghalaya.

‘We are concerned that the proposed road blockades may affect other northeastern states too,’ Meghalaya principal secretary (home) Barkos Warjri told reporters here.

Police heads of the four districts — East Khasi Hills, West KhasiHills, Jaintia Hills and Ri-Bhoi — have been asked to see that the traffic flow along the national and other highways are not disturbed due to the night blockade.

Chief Minister D.D. Lapang told reporters: ‘The uranium reserves are a national property and no one can stop the government from using them.’

‘The government has waited for 20 long years to persuade the people to allow uranium mining at Domiasiat in West Khasi Hills district of southern Meghalaya.’

The KSU and local parties have been spearheading the movement against the Meghalaya government’s decision to allow the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to carry out pre-project development programmes in 422 square hectares in the uranium-rich
areas of West Khasi Hills.

A senior Meghalaya government official said the union ministry of environment and forests had already allowed UCIL to start uranium mining for the annual production of 375,000 tonnes of uranium ore and processing of 1,500 tonnes of the mineral ore per day in West Khasi Hills district.

The UCIL has proposed a Rs.1,046 crore open-cast uranium mining and processing plant at Domiasiat in the West Khasi Hills district. Meghalaya has an estimated 9.22 million tones of uranium ore deposits.

We are not no-one, this is not nowhere


“The people of the Northern Territory elected the Labor Party. We were led to believe that the nuclear waste
thing would be all overturned and overruled, and at this moment we are extremely disappointed”.
Marlene Bennett, Muckaty Traditional Owner

In 2007 the new Rudd Government promised to end a decade of division on radioactive waste management.

Labor pledged to:
1- Repeal the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act
2- Implement an open, transparent and inclusive process
3- Remove the threat of imposed radioactive waste dumps.

This position was warmly welcomed by the Northern Territory government,
Traditional Owners, environment, health and human rights groups and trade unions.

So far it has not been acted upon.

Traditional Owners continue to live with the threat of a nuclear dump and the gap
between federal Labor’s promise and performance is growing.

It’s time to close the gap. It’s time to honour the promise.
It’s time for an open and responsible approach to radioactive waste management in Australia.